For GeoOp, how much growth is good growth?

Most companies would be happy to double their revenue in a year, but for companies aiming to dominate an emerging market segment, success can be hard to define.

Developer GeoOp aims to be the leader in its emerging market, enabling companies with mobile field workforces to operate both more efficiently and effectively.

On Thursday, the New Zealand-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company reported that sales in the year to March 31 had doubled. The market reacted favourably, driving the company's share price up from 45 cents to a high of 67 cents, though still south of the company's October 2013 NZ$1 listing price.

There are plenty of companies that would be ecstatic with much lower growth than that. But working out exactly how much growth represents success for a growth company is not easy.

Most technology companies would benchmark their performance against peers and competitors to see how they are tracking. CFO Stewart Reynolds said that this is not really an option, however, because GeoOp's competitors are mostly small, privately held companies.

The numbers do show that GeoOp grew much faster in the year ended March 2014 than in the year just ended. Annualised subscription revenue in 2014 grew six times, from NZ$101,000 to NZ$610,000, while in 2015 they doubled to NZ$1.27 million.

Similarly, the number of paying users more than tripled in 2014, from 2,300 to 8,006. In 2015, they nearly doubled to reach 17,839, though there was a change in GeoOp's licensing model during the period.

Reynolds said the high growth achieved in 2014 was the result of a small, privately held company achieving significant investment and gearing up. There was a significant percentage increase off a very small base.

Anna Cicognani, GeoOp's chief executive, told investors that the company focused on new customer acquisitions in the fourth quarter, achieving a 26 percent increase in new business compared to the same quarter in 2014. GeoOp has also received increased numbers of enquiries from larger enterprises.

Because GeoOp is still an early stage business, it doesn't make forecasts, Reynolds said. Sales still move around too much from month to month. Achieving consistent quarter-on-quarter growth is the key.

"It's difficult to predict timing when you are in a new market and educating people," he said.

GeoOp has been very careful to not try to do everything too soon, Reynolds said. The company is focusing on expanding its ecosystem by developing integrations with other applications, such as CRM and inventory.

This will make it more appealing and accessible to businesses to bolt on to their existing applications.

Developing such an integration to Quickbooks, for instance, is a priority for the company's push into the US market.

"If we can crack that, it's a wonderful opportunity," he said.

GeoOp rarely comes across a competitor and loses business to them, Reynolds said.

"We believe we are the market leader in this," he said.

Even better, because smartphone penetration is now so high, everyone has the infrastructure to be able to adopt.

"It's about willingness to do it, not having the infrastructure or capability," Reynolds said.

According to new GeoOp figures, users are getting paid by customers eight days faster than before adopting, and are saving on average 105 minutes per day.

Whatever the case around growth, however, GeoOp's is outpacing New Zealand's leading SaaS software provider, Xero, which today reported an 81 percent increase in operating revenue for the year ending March 31.

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